Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

27
Feb
2017

Hope for a Weary Mom: 6 Tips to Overcome

Exhausted, overwhelmed, and numb. Any of those feelings hit close to home?

Last week I shared with you all about my season of loneliness (a topic we never want to discuss or admit). But I am here to see. I am surviving and pulling up my bootstraps and pushing into a new season of expectation.  

Yes, I’m expecting amazing things!

So, what do you do in the meantime during that transition of feeling worn out and weary? Whether it’s a season of loneliness, toddlers running you ragged, or a season of health challenges, maybe you can implement a few tips I am currently using to give myself grace.

Batch Cook

Oh my word. This is a life saver for me right now. To be honest, there are days I don’t want to cook and am worn out physically and emotionally. So I am thankful that when I make a batch of soup or a casserole, I have been doubling my recipe and making sure I have ingredients on hand and freezing a batch. I can grab something in the freezer and dinner is taken care of.  

Rest

This is a hard one for me, and I rarely ever just relax. But times are changing and my body needs time to recharge. Our emotional health is important and will impact our physical health. Finding time to sit, listen to music, and nap. Yes, I said NAP! Snuggling up with a warm blanket and a book is nourishment for your soul.

Let the Guilt Go

I have let my house get a bit chaotic for my own liking the past few months. One reason is I know we are moving, but the second reason was because I was exhausted. I have done the minimum and, you know what, we all survived! I have changed my perspective and chosen to use that time to relax instead of get all upset because I should have ran the vacuum. Find a balance that fits your season for right now.

Play with Kinetic Sand

Yes, this one is a bit odd, but putting aside our “normal” means doing some things NOT normal! For me, it was sitting down and doing Kinetic Sand (one of my son’s favorite activities). I am so not about the play, but when you are needing to change things up a bit, drawing, coloring, or using your hands in mundane activities can be really good! We have had quite the collection of sand, toys, and imaginary play.

Get Outside

I have said this one before (many times), but I know it can be work in the middle of winter. Whether you deal with snow, freezing temperatures, or lots of rain like I do, it is not always easy to just get yourself outside. But do it anyway. Especially when it’s not easy. I can often make excuses to stay indoors for days on end and it will feed my exhaustion and overwhelm. Seeing the inside four walls of my home day after day will exhaust my spirit. Getting outside I am reminded of God’s goodness and His caring for what is around me. I love the fresh air and my body needs the activity for sure.

Get Yourself Some Flowers

Yes, get yourself some fresh flowers to brighten your space. My favorite flowers are tulips and they can bring a smile to my face in an instant. You don’t have to spend a lot, but grab yourself a bunch of daisies, tulips, or maybe a potted primrose and brighten your space up!

What is your tip for seasons of weary motherhood?

Battling Through a Season of Loneliness

20
Feb
2017

Battling Through a Season of Loneliness in Motherhood

The past five months have been some of the toughest days of my life. It may surprise you, as it surprised me to admit it just a few weeks ago. However, it is the truth.

It is tricky enough that motherhood can be some of the loneliest years of our life. I know that and I can usually overcome those feelings of isolation and debilitating bitterness. But I feel guilt as well – because just six months ago we sold our home in Seattle, moved three hours west to a sweet and adorable town we’ve been dreaming of moving to, and here I find myself lonely?

I mean, how can that be? I am living the life I have been dreaming of!

But, even when we step out in faith and walk the path set before us, He never promises it will all be peaches and cream. And I have been a bit blindsided with the intense loneliness I’ve encountered.

I could go on with the reasons I feel lonely. They are all valid. I mean, it is how I feel and the circumstances are all true. Instead, I want to share with you how I’ve shifted my focus over the last few weeks to begin to see light at the end of my tunnel.

Break Free from Social Media

This is a tough one for me, since I run two businesses online and want to connect with my readers on Facebook – but the reality is, I need to take regular breaks.

For me, this season of isolation and loneliness intensifies when I am on Facebook viewing the highlight reels of everyone. I need to protect my heart and soul, which means not going to Facebook first thing each day or even several times a day.

Be Intentional

If you are like me and recently moved to a new community, which by the way is only 88 people big, you can’t wait for someone else to reach out to you. For months, that is what I did. Waited for someone to invite me to coffee or lunch. So in the past month, I’ve been intentional about making coffee dates and lunch dates with others and reaching out to them. Instead of fearing rejection I am stepping out with hope. This has been a game changer.

Worship

I have had sobbing sessions with God, weeping to praise music trying to re-focus and remember that I am not alone. He is with me EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s hard, really hard, but I believe that He will never leave nor forsake me. I have burned the daylights out of my Pandora stations alternating through worship music. This is my song for 2017 – You Have Called Me Higher by All Sons and Daughters. This year will be a great year and through greatness comes growth and character development, which I believe can be found during these lonely seasons.

Be Gentle with Yourself

This area is so hard for me, because I like to have the perception that I am capable of all things, all the time. But the reality is I need to rest and allow my soul to just be. If I am down, let the feelings surface instead of just covering them up. A nice hot bath can do wonders for me. A cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee enjoyed in silence is so soothing.

Find Fellowship

When we moved, we lost connection with our church family. If anyone has moved, you know what I am talking about. Our normal became very NOT normal. We’ve struggled with finding a new home church, but in the past three weeks we’ve been purposeful about connecting and putting a priority on finding a local church where we can connect, contribute, and find fellowship. This has been a big stride in pushing ahead through this intense season, and it won’t solve all the ups and downs, but there is nothing like being connected with other believers in doing good for God.

Using My Crazy Oils

Emotional support – essential oils are amazing for helping in this area. When you inhale an oil, it takes less than 22 seconds for it to reach the limbic system in the brain. (More amazing facts about essential oils here!) This area plays an essential role in the formation of new memories about past experiences. So when I inhale different oils and continually repeat it can help shift my mood, my focus, and my attitude. There are days my oils – like Joy, Harmony, Stress Away, Peace & Calming, Grounding, and Sacred Mountain – have been my life line to survival, along with some worship music! I can’t imagine my life without my toolbox of all natural plant based goodness for my body!

Even though I have been in this season of transition, I know we are truly blessed to live where we do. So many other good things are coming from our obedience. I love the slower pace and finding joy in things I otherwise would have missed, like the sunset. Here is one I viewed on Friday evening – pure amazement!

Beach Sunset

What has helped you through seasons of loneliness?

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

6
Feb
2017

7 Reasons to Read to Your Child

We all know that learning to read is important, but as parents what we do to facilitate this milestone in our home is extremely important. For those that homeschool, you already have the great joy of educating your children on your terms. But for those who school outside the home, it can seem daunting to know what to focus on at home. Helping to encourage your child to read is at the top of my list! Reading to your child has many benefits, one of which is simply having time to snuggle together.

#1: Reading Is Important

When you read to your child, he/she will learn that reading is important to you. Therefore, reading will become important to him/her.

#2: Listening Is Powerful

The more your child hears sounds, the better he/she will process these sounds into words. When a child is preschool/kindergarten age, the listening word starts to become the written word. Reading will foster your child’s ability to listen and pay attention. With all the problems we here about concerning attention spans, this is a great way to avoid that.

#3: Effective Calming

Reading has a calming effect on a restless or fussy baby. Words spoken out loud give a calming effect – even for you as you read. Who doesn’t want an easy way to calm a fussy baby?

#4: An Easy Routine

Reading is a wonderful before bed routine. Studies have shown that a child will thrive in an atmosphere in which routines are present. So either before or after pajamas, spend some time reading a book. We’ve recently started The Magic Treehouse books and we read a few chapters each night.

#5: Expand Their Imagination

Reading will help to develop your child’s imagination. Have you ever gotten lost in a good book? Your child can do the same while you are reading to him/her. We have recently been learning about sharks, dinosaurs, and Ancient Egypt – all from the comfort of our home!

#6: Build Communication Skills

When you spend time reading to toddlers, they’ll be much more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. By witnessing the interactions between the characters in the books you read, as well as the contact with you during story time, your child is gaining valuable communication skills.

#7: Life-Long Reader

Reading to your child will develop in him/her the desire to become a reader.

We recently discovered a fun way to expand our reading library all on my iPad. Now that we’ve moved, we are 30 minutes from a library, so not super convenient for random trips to the library to get books. A friend shared Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids, which offers unlimited access to over 20,000 high-quality children’s books, including thousands of read-to-me, audio books, and educational videos. It does cost $4.99 a month, so for a few months we are trying it out to see how we enjoy the convenience. I really like that there are options for reading levels, having the book read to my child, or having him read. He uses his Blue Light Glasses too, which helps me feel good with him using screen devices, especially in the evening. We have thoroughly enjoying expanding our imagination with books!

Isn’t it exciting to think that you can have such an effect on your child’s ability to read just by reading to him/her? You have the power to develop a life long joy of reading and learning in your child. WOW! Just read.

5 Benefits of Regular Date Nights

16
Jan
2017

5 Benefits of Regular Date Nights

So, when was your last date night? Go ahead. Take a break and check your calendar. I did when I sat down to write this article because it had been almost a month since my hubby and I snuck away for a few hours alone! Yikes! It’s embarrassing really.

I know how I feel when I return from date night, so why is it so hard to get these on the calendar? For us it is a recent move to a newer community that has left us searching for sitter alternatives, but that is really no excuse. There are good things that come from making regular date nights happen, and I am set on scheduling these out in our calendar because my marriage deserves it.

What are the benefits? Here are just a few I managed to consider. I bet you have others too.

Anticipation Is Always Good!

I love having something to look forward to, don’t you? Having that Thursday date night on the calendar and looking forward to it all week can help me and my attitude stay happy and healthy as I journey through the day. Thinking of what to do, where we might go, what we might talk about, what dreams may develop in that conversation because we have some freedom and are not bound by home tasks – it is so nice to have uninterrupted conversation.

Connection and Communication

This is a continuation of the “uninterrupted conversation” part. When we get that time to chat with no destination, it is amazing how connected and affirmed you can feel toward your spouse. I am sure you know what I mean – when you feel they are truly listening to you because they aren’t focused on getting the kids into the bath or making lunches. We need this time to build strong marriages, because let’s face it – we lead busy lives and when we don’t make time for each other, something is bound to break and someone will feel “not connected”.

An Opportunity for Romance

We all need it and we long for that romance in our marriage. It’s a struggle and you have to be intentional to keep the romance alive when you’ve got ten plates spinning in the air. I love being able to sneak away on date night and create a calm that I can’t get at home, and who knows, it might end up creating fireworks at home later.

Lowering Stress

The power of a date night can certainly de-stress you both. I mean, you aren’t racing around checking off lists and managing bedtime routines. You are together – just the two of you. It really is amazing how just a couple of hours can be so helpful for our emotions.

Reaffirming Your Commitment

When you place an importance on having regular date nights, you are stating your marriage is worth it. It’s worth the extra effort of finding a sitter. It’s worth the effort of thinking of something to do. It’s worth the effort of saving some money in your grocery bill so you can go grab coffee and dessert out. Your marriage is worth it. It shows a strong commitment to each other!

7 Tips to Being a Happy and More Productive Mom

9
Jan
2017

7 Tips to Being a Happy and More Productive Mom

It’s a new year and time for new habits, right? If you are anything like me, over the past few weeks my days have become a jumbled mess and I need a reset. My inbox has been getting full of messages from moms wondering how I do it all and how they can catch up and feel better in their role.

First, I do not do it all. However, I do have some tips that I use to reset myself to be happier and more productive at home. Read on if you are in need of a reset or share this with a friend who may be struggling.

Feed Your Soul

What fills you up and gives you energy for your day? Only you can answer this. For me, I must have quiet time in the morning – MUST. When I don’t, my day is flustered and my temper is short. God built me in a way that I must connect with Him and myself before I begin to pour out into others. I love doing devotions (I love the First5 app and am currently enjoying a new reading the Bible in a year series in the  YouVersion Bible app).

Get Dinner Done

One big headache for us moms is getting a plan for dinner. I have made it part of my routine to plan meals and a menu the week prior to when we need it. I can prepare for my grocery shopping and be at peace knowing we have food for meals and I will not be tempted to go out. This is healthier for me and my family. Do you need a free menu planner? Grab one here!  

Having my meals planned is a life saver! It literally gives me more energy through the day because I am not constantly using my mom brain to think, “what am I going to make for dinner?” I do love eMeals (you can try it for FREE for 14 days!) for making dinner planning easy, and also check Pinterest for menu ideas.

Create Your Big Three

Each morning after I get my little guy out the door, I come up with my big three – my three things that MUST get done that day. It could be a trip to the post office, waking the dogs, or working on my blog. I tackle these things and will at least feel successful even if I do not get to the other things on my to-do list. We often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves and what we are truly capable of completing during the day.

Rise Early

Game changer. Period. You say you’re not an early riser, okay, but you are missing out on a chunk of time that can ignite your day, your productivity level, and your happiness. I notice on the days I sleep in or am lazy to get my day going, I struggle to feel caught up and prepared. So for me and a lot of moms I know, getting up earlier than everyone else is a non-negotiable. Find a way to get to bed earlier so you can grab the time in the morning to prepare for your day.

Create a Routine

This is a huge deal and if you are flying by the seat of your pants you will continue to feel unorganized, under-prepared, and frazzled. Set a morning routine for yourself and a routine for your kiddos and an evening one. It is a must! Stick to it as much as you can. We are creatures of habit and the less we have to use our brain to figure out what we are doing next, the better – for everyone!

Slow Down

This goes a bit in hand with feeding your soul and rising early. I have found since we’ve moved to the beach that I have to have a slower pace to enjoy my day. It is not all about the rushing around and doing more. It is about enjoying your day, the small moments of joy that appear. If we are moving too fast we miss those. I will now purposefully break away from my desk at a moments notice to catch the sunset or go take the dogs to the beach. It is the best feeling ever. Even in the midst of motherhood we need to capture these moments.

Tidy the House

Yes, this is part of the equation to having a happier and more productive day. I love my Weekly Household Planner I created that helps mom just do a few things each day to keep their home organized and tidy. Do what you can and cross out the other stuff. I have moms emailing me several times a week saying that this planner has blessed them so much. They are no longer using brain cells to figure out what task to do, they just do what they can on the list. I am so blessed by this! So use a method that works for you. Do a few things a day and it won’t overwhelm you!

What is your biggest tip for having a happier and more productive day?

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